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Brief Encounters: New Albums 7-28-23 – 8-3-23 Reviewed

UNHEALTHY (Deluxe) – Anne-Marie – sure I love the black belt singer (and judge on the UK’s “The Voice”) to a degree, there is something pop art about what she does and the arrangements are wild and that voice is so English! But she can’t maintain an album at all – C+

Natural Disaster – Bethany Cosentino – indie rock pop from the SoCal scene by the depressed but she doesn’t sound it, it is not a major departure from Best Coast and the first four songs as she has done. However, the middle of the road big ballads don’t work and “For A Moment” is precisely what she shouldn’t be doing – B+

The Ones Ahead – Beverly Glenn-Copeland – the experimental musician doesn’t release new records very often but he has been holding out on us. From the first song (the invigorating Afrobeat’s but not “Africa Calling”) to to the exquisite if boring “Harbour (Song For Elizabeth)”, there is something special here; it reminds me of the mode not voice of serpentwithfeet – B

The Loveliest Time – Carly Rae Jepsen – hyperpop and its hyperist but should be catchier – B-

Echosmith – Echosmith – California indie pop from the trio, pretty and bland – B-

The Feminine Divine – Dexys – hasn’t Kevin retired? Apparently not. Dexy’s are a misunderstood and underappreciated outfit that put Ireland into Northern Soul but with so much eccentricity on an ode to feminine superiority (a sentiment I agree with wholeheartedly)!  The songs are plenty good as well and I was going to make it the best album of the week, it would’ve been last week, only Travis Scott- A-

Consciousology – Dot Allison – baroque English folk prettiness featuring Andy Bell so you know it is all sound and melody – B

Just One More – George Jones – I wish somebody somewhere would take control of his catalog. They keep releasing senseless albums like this late 1950s twelve song release. It is prime Jones, undoubtedly, but let’s go back to the beginning and put him together chronologically and not throw darts at his song list – A-

Joni Mitchell at Newport (Live) – Joni Mitchell – and at her age, after a stroke, singing from a chair, returning to the garden. The harmonizing singers carry her a little but who cares, from “Big Yellow Taxi” to “The Circle Game” it is fantastic to hear the songs again and these are fair to middling takes but I don’t care – B+

A New Reality Mind – Madeline Kenney – brimming with musical wit and strength but stuck inside of Lilith Fair with the Oakland blues – B-

Dig My Mood (25th Anniversary) – Nick Lowe – not his best album (post Jesus Of Cool, I might go with Party Of One) but since he has failed to release a bad album it will certainly do, plus a good outtake and four 1998 live in Japan tracks – A

Austin – Post Malone – in which Post concludes the transference to Austin, classic rockist with very indifferent sounds. If he wants to go from rap to rock, for goodness sake make better songs – D+

Complete Studio Albums & Rarities – Stevie Nicks – I don’t like Stevie, I mean a song here and there, usually for Fleetwood Mac, but she is no Christine Perfect. Here you have 121 track and I can’t even listen to “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” – C

Forty Licks 50th Anniversary – The Rolling stones – you know em all, you love em all , they’re remastered, and any excuse to hear em again – A

Live at Union Chapel – Tom Odell – he is James Blake without the sound engineering but he remains a talented singer songwriter with a haunting voice, “Best Day Of My Life” is masterful – B+

UTOPIA – Travis Scott – “Crazy how they love to talk shit and got no Trident/ I’m loyal, bitch, I got Ye over Biden,” Travis claims on a song featuring Young Thug, and Kanye doesn’t make but he produces and co-wrote several songs -though not the one featuring Beyonce. Highly produced and very expert rap, the equal of Astroworld (on first listen) and when you have a Parliament sample on the first take you know it’s gonna be a deep dive. Travis rapping is fast and fluid, his selection of add ons incredible (Bey is only the best of them) and it sounds awesome; joined by The Weeknd on “Circus Maximus” you might be overwhelmed by how it sounds like nothing you’ve heard. On first listen, there isn’t a dog in the entire 73 minutes – A

Where Were You?: Independent Music from Leeds 1978-1989 – Various Artists – in case you thought it was all Mekons and Gang Of Four, this takes you from post-punk to synth pop on the local scene back when – B

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